African violets are little, violet-flowered plants with velvety leaves that immediately spring to mind when we hear the name. But there are other types of African Violet, and some of them resemble one another quite closely.
In its database, the African Violet Society of America contains more than 16,000 different types. These types are categorized according to how they grow and how they bloom.
Aroma of Summer
Enjoy the scent of pink flowers? Bring this lovely kind of African Violet home! It is low maintenance and grows well in partial sunlight with only moderate watering.
Every admirer of indoor plants adores Ruby Icefall for its stunning crimson red blossoms and easygoing personality. It works nicely in low light and gives modern home décor a magical touch.
One of the most well-liked and admired African violets for its exceptional look is summer twilight. It has stunning white-bordered lilac-purple flowers as well as variegated leaves.
Lonestar Twilight stands out from other kinds thanks to its white blossoms and bright yellow center. Avoid overwatering and shield the plant from direct sunlight to keep it healthy inside.
One of the most well-known types of African violet, Little Maya features stunning crimson-red blossoms. Since its initial introduction in 1997, it has remained on the favorites lists of fans of houseplants.
Ruffled Romance has lovely tricolor foliage and flouncy pink flowers. It is one of the most exquisite types of African Violet and does well with little maintenance.
How many different shades of African violets exist?
The striking variation of the plants, in terms of both flowers and foliage, is at the heart of the widespread popularity and success of the African Violet.
Newcomers to the world of African violets may believe that the plant’s characteristics are limited to its blue flowers and plain green leaves, as well as those of its mother and grandmother. Modern African violets come in a range of flower and leaf forms after being cultivated for 100 years. As with the original plants, the flower colors can be dark blue, but they can also be white, pink, lavender, red, fuchsia, coral, and a hue that is close to “true red.” The newest plants also have green, ivory, and yellow flowers. The flowers can have a single color, many colors, darker tips, eyes with contrast, colorful edges, dots, and streaks. Different shapes can be found in flower petals. There are single flowers, “stick-tight” flowers, semi-double flowers, full double flowers, flowers with fringes, ruffles, stars, wasps, and bells. It would take hundreds of examples only to have a collection of plants that represent all the potential flower hues and arrangements.
The mutation of flower components that changed the number of petals is one of the most remarkable changes in the African violet. Singles are the original flowers, which have 5 petals (for example, “Blue Boy”). Semi-double flowers, like ‘Baby Brian,’ have additional half petals. Double flowers (like “Ness’ Crinkle Blue”) are those with additional rows or layers of petals.
A few of the more recent flower mutations from the past 20 years alter the color pattern on the petals. The Geneva edge pattern, fingerprint pattern, fantasy pattern, and raspberry edges are four illustrations.
Geneva edge is an allele that predominates. It made its debut in 1950 on “Lady Geneva” and has since appeared in a variety of hybrids, including “Red Lantern” on the left. The gene is dose-dependent, producing a larger white margin with double dominance (DD) than with single dominance (Dd).
With plants like “Optimara Dali,” “Optimara Leonardo Davinc,” and “Optimara Monet,” Optimara Violets introduced the fingerprint pattern in 1985. The middle of the petals now have a colored spot because to the mutation. The mutation is present in all shades of African violet and is also genetically dominant. An outstanding illustration of this flower pattern mutation is ‘Silverglade Beads’ (center, above).
As in the illustration to the right, fantasy flowers have splashes of one or more distinct colors against a backdrop hue. The finest results from this dominant mutation were seen in plants that had a recessive (simple color) gene combined with the dominant (fantasy) gene.
Despite the fact that it is unknown which plant had the original mutation, the raspberry edge pattern also started to develop in the 1980s. The edges of the petals have a layer of darker pink or red color thanks to this dominant mutation. Pink/red is the sole hue in which the gene manifests itself, even on blue flowers. One of my hybrids, “Tomorrow’s Pink Ice,” has raspberry edges.
One of the most recent pattern mutations places a very broad strip of white on the petal margins’ outer half. The first plants with this dominant mutation were the Optimara “My series. Excellent illustrations of this kind include “Optimara My Dream” (l) and “Optimara My Joy” (r). The mutation differs genetically from the related-appearing Geneva edge mutation and seems to limit the distribution of color on the edges.
The creation of a variety of yellow colors, which are not a color that naturally occurs in the species, is one of the most recent advancements in the field of African violets. Yellow can be found both by itself and in conjunction with other tones.
African violet leaves have evolved from their basic green color. The leaves might be plain (“boy leaf”), scalloped (“girl leaf”), longifolia (“long pointed leaves”), ruffled, spoonshaped (“girl leaf”), quilted (“girl leaf”), wavy (“girl leaf”), or bustled. The leaves can be variegated in white, pink, tan, cream, or yellow-green and may have green, silver, or red backings. The leaf’s borders, the plant’s center, or the entire surface of the leaf may display the variegation pattern. A few plants have leaves that change color throughout the day; they are dark green at night and yellow-green during the day. Plants are now grown for their intriguing and colorful foliage as much as their flowers.
Additionally, there are numerous sizes and development forms for African violets. Microminiatures that are little larger than 3-6 centimeters (11/2–2 inches) across to huge standards that can reach diameters of more than 75 centimeters are examples of the size range of the plants (30 inches). Many plants form a rosette as they grow, their leaves extending outward from the center like the spokes of a wheel. Some plants can trail over the edges of the pot thanks to their various growth sites and longer stems. The diameter of these trailers can occasionally exceed one meter (3 1/2 feet), thus they can also get rather big. There are an incredibly large number of permutations when you combine the various growth forms, sizes, leaf types, and blossom colors.
What distinguishes violets from African violets?
Three American states—Rhode Island, Illinois, and New Jersey—have adopted the Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia, as their official flower.
In the family Violaceae, the genus violets (Viola) contains Spring flowering plants. The genus contains between 400 and 500 species of violets. In addition to Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in South America, violets are widely dispersed across the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Violets thrive in areas with moisture and some shade, such hedgerows.
The Latin name “Viola” is where the term “violet” originates. Some of the well-known violet kinds include Common Blue Violets, Common Violets, Sweet Violets, and Garden Violets. The majority of violets are tiny perennial plants, although a few are also small shrubs and few are annuals.
Violets generally have asymmetrical blooms and foliage in the shape of hearts. Many species are distinguished by the shape of their petals; certain violets, for instance, have a spur at the end of each petal. The Violets have a variety of flower colors, many of which are violet, as its name would imply, as well as blue, yellow, white, and cream. Some have two colors; frequently, blue and yellow.
Facts about Violets
- The cultivation of true violets dates back to at least 500 BC, when the ancient Greeks first became aware of them. Violets were utilized by both the Greeks and the Romans for a variety of purposes, including herbal treatments, wine (called “Vinum Violatum”), food sweetening, and celebrations.
- Pansies, Sweet violets, and Bedding Violas are all considered to be “violas” strictly speaking. Sweet violets are descended from the Viola odorata, a wild sweet violet native to Europe. Pansies and Viola cornuta were crossed to create bedding violas, which are the flower we often refer to as violas. The wild violas Viola lutea and Viola tricolor gave rise to pansies (“johnny-jump-up”).
- Some Lepidoptera species’ larvae use violets as food plants.
- The “Quatre Saisons” violets were created through the crossing of various species. These horticultural efforts resulted in the development of the Violets we plant today, along with the ‘Russian Violet’ that was supposedly introduced in the latter part of the 19th century.
- From Maine to Florida, the Blue violet can be found growing throughout the United States.
- The violet was employed in love potions by the Ancient Greeks as a sign of fertility and love. To prevent headaches and vertigo, Pliny advised wearing a violet garland above the head.
- The Dog Violets, a group of odorless species that are the most prevalent violets in many locations, the Sweet Violet, Viola odorata (called for its sweet aroma), and numerous more species with the term “Violet” in their common names are all included in this genus. Pansies refer to a variety of species.
- In the eastern United States, the purple violet—also known as the Wood Violet, Blue Prairie Violet, Prairie Blue Violet, Hooded Blue Violet, Meadow Blue Violet, and Butterfly Violet—is fairly common. It is also Wisconsin’s State Flower.
- Large amounts of violets shouldn’t be consumed internally. Violet blossoms are candied for adornment in jellies, used in medications as a laxative, and are edible.
African violets, which are not actual violets, belong to the genus Saintpaulia. True violets and African violets differ primarily in the following ways:
- Most African violets are produced indoors. They are shallow-rooted plants that do well in light conditions as long as it is shaded. True violets are outdoor, deep-rooted plants that do well in both partial shade and full sun.
- True violets have big to small heart-shaped leaves that are occasionally smooth and other times have varied degrees of hairiness, as opposed to African violets, which have mushy downy leaves and produce five-petaled flowers all summer long that typically have a prominent eye. The majority of the flowers, with the exception of the frost-tolerant Parma Violets, are produced from September through March.
Varieties of Violets
- Field Pansy, Viola arvensis
- Yellow Wood Violet or Twoflower Violet, Viola biflora
- Violet, the Heath Dog, canine
- Violet with Hair, Viola hirta
- Sweet violets, or Viola odorata
- Yellow Pansy (Viola pedunculata)
- Common Dog Violet, Viola riviniana
- Wild pansy (Viola tricolor) or heart’s ease
- Early Blue Violet, Viola adunca
- Nephrophylla Viola, Northern Bog Violet
- Crowfoot Violet, Viola pedatifida
- Violet Downy Yellow Viola pubescens
- Western Canada’s Viola rugulosa Violet
- The optimum conditions for growing violets are in the dappled shade of deciduous trees, which allows for full winter and spring sunlight.
- Pick a location that gets full sun to mild shade. Violets prefer fairly rich, well-drained soil as well, so for optimal results, mix in a spadeful or two of compost at planting time.
- Four to six weeks before the final date of frost in your region, plant violets in the early spring.
- Depending on the kind, space plants 4 to 8 inches apart.
- Mulch helps to prolong root cooling.
- hardly any water at all. Violets don’t require a lot of water, despite the fact that they prefer chilly climates.
- In order to encourage extended flowering, pinch off spent blossoms.
- After blossoming begins, fertilize once more.
Violet Plant Care
When the seedlings are big enough to handle, prick them out into separate pots, then plant them out in the summer. When it’s dry out, violets need extra moisture since the Red Spider Mite can attack them if they become dehydrated. Using a hose to spray is beneficial. For healthy flowers, occasional feeding with soot water or liquid manure is beneficial, as is a top dressing with blood or bone.
division in the autumn or immediately following flowering. However, it is better to pot up smaller divisions and grow them in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Larger divisions can be put out directly into their permanent locations. During the growth season, keep runners picked off. This will promote large flowers.
What type of African violet is the simplest to grow?
A genus of plants in the Gesneriad family are known as African violets (also known as Saintpaulia). Many of the species, which Baron von St Paul discovered in 1892 and gave their botanical name to, are still alive and well in Tanzania and Kenya’s Eastern Arc Mountains. Despite living in a tropical environment, the majority of species are found on mountains, at high altitudes, and in plant cover. African violets are therefore perfect for interior home gardens or windows since they just need moderate (“room”) temperatures and light. Millions of its modern descendants are grown worldwide in the homes of collectors and enthusiasts, despite the fact that many of the native Saintpaulia are currently threatened by habitat destruction. Viewing our website and catalog will show you how stunning and distinct from the basic species first identified more than a century ago modern hybrid African violets may be. These sections contain a ton of information regarding their surroundings and care.
Make them big.
African violet cultivars that reach a diameter more than 8 when fully grown are considered standard. In reality, most people reach a height of 10 to 12. They can grow to be around 18 to 24 across when cultivated for exhibition. We exclusively cultivate the types that, in our opinion, have the best growing and flowering habits. These African violets are not your typical, everyday grocery flowers! Just their size is typical.
Tiny them up a bit African violets in miniature and semiminiature sizes are our specialty. When fully grown, miniatures and semiminis have a diameter of less than six and eight, respectively. The size of the real plant is typically significantly lower with good cultivation. The smallest of them may only measure 2 or 3 leaves from tip to tip! Never use a pot larger than 2 1/2 in diameter, and much less for the smallest types, as these are small-growing plants with small root systems.
Grow these uncommon and unique plants.
For “Chimera” kinds of violets, leaf cuttings will not result in plantlets that are identical to the parent plant. These are often “pinwheel flowered varieties” with wide, multicolored side and center stripes. These can only be reproduced by suckers, are genetically more rare, and are highly odd. Leaf chimeras are cultivars with leaves that can only be propagated by suckers. Leaf chimera variation is extremely uncommon and is unaffected by alterations in temperature, habitat, or age. The same maintenance is required as for other African violets. There are chimeric African violets in both small and regular sizes.
Let them develop. The easiest African violets to grow and blossom, especially for beginners, are those that trail. They are naturally expanding, branching plants that are free to pursue their own interests. No need to eliminate suckers in order to maintain symmetry or promote blooming. These violets grow additional crowns at will, without degrading their beauty or bloom. In fact, this raises the likelihood of flowering! You have the option to spread them out in little pots or hang them as baskets in windows.
‘Native’ grow them. All contemporary hybrids can be traced back to the Saintpaulia species of African violets. In east Africa, many are still growing on the sides of hills. Some species are only found in the collections of collectors since the majority are endangered.
Basic African Violet Care:
- Light. For healthy growth and blossom, there must be enough light. Try to provide strong sunlight that isn’t too warm. Place a two-tube fluorescent fixture 12–18 inches above plants if you’re growing things under artificial lighting, and leave it on for 12–13 hours each day.
- Watering. Water should be at room temperature. when the soil feels dry, water “Touchably dry
- Feeding. The ideal formula is “balanced” (relatively equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Avoid “flower enhancers Use the fertilizer as directed with every irrigation.
- Atmosphere. Like you, African violets prefer temperate temperatures and humidity. They also feel at ease if you do.
- Soil. Utilize a bog-based, “a soilless mixture with at least 30 to 50 percent coarse perlite and/or vermiculite. Brand-name “African violets don’t necessarily do well in violet soils. As a general rule, the soil should contain more perlite the wetter you maintain it.
- Grooming. Do not allow additional crowns (suckers), with the exception of trailers. Single-crowned plants should be grown for African violets. With little more than five rows of leaves, most African violets look their finest.
- Potting. Every 6 to 12 months, repot all of your plants. When mature, the majority of common African violets cultivated as houseplants will need a 4-5 pot. Use a pot with a diameter of no more than 2 1/2 for minis and semiminis.
Who we are: African violet experts
Since 1975, we have been expanding and displaying, and since 1985, we have been sending to happy consumers all over the world. Our famed “Rob’s” and “Ma’s” series of African violets and “Bristol’s” series of gesneriads are among the many plants we hybridize (African violet relatives).
In a restored 1900s barn with an adjacent glasshouse and other structures, we grow our plants. We grow more than 30,000 plants at any given moment. We grow plants because we enjoy doing it. To find out more about us, visit the “about page.
What we do
We don’t purchase plants from other growers and resell them; we hybridize and cultivate every plant we sell. This implies that we have firsthand knowledge of how each plant prefers to thrive. In addition, we gather numerous rare species that have never been cultivated before and grow them, as well as the best and most odd hybrids that other farmers produce. We rarely go on vacation or to a play and leave empty-handed!
What we grow: African violets and more
We are experts in gesneriads, the relatives of African violets, and other plants that thrive indoors. The majority may be grown on a windowsill or light stand and are manageable in size, and many will bloom quickly indoors.
Every plant you need for a terrarium, miniature landscape, or fairy garden is grown by us in addition to a sizable and varied assortment of miniature and terrarium plants. Instead than being simply cuttings from a giant plant that would shortly exceed your pot, our plants are actual miniatures. Use in vivariums is secure. not dangerous to reptiles and frogs. When growing these plants, we solely employ organic, nontoxic materials. View the “what we grow pages, or even better, our online catalog, for a summary of what we grow!
How to grow African violets
Use this website as a resource to learn about the plants you cultivate (or want to grow) or to learn how to grow them better, even though we’d like to sell you plants (or perhaps we already have). Use this “search feature to find the solution to your query for instance, use “If this information is what you need to know, repot African violet. You will be pointed toward pertinent data on this subject or any other. Many helpful details may be found on our “plant care” pages, which also include “how to tutorials and a FAQ (commonly asked questions) library.
We may be reached by phone or email during office hours if you’ve bought a plant from us and are having trouble growing it or simply need more information on its maintenance.
Where to find us
We welcome visitors year-round to our shop and glasshouse. The “about pages” include information about hours and directions. Throughout the year, we also participate in (and sell at) a number of shows across the country. The sidebar to the right will include a list of these events’ dates.
Would you like to enlighten us with your knowledge or experience of cultivating African violets? This site’s pages enable comments on a lot of them. Those pertinent to the page being remarked on will be posted.